Société is pleased to announce Ich bin hier raus, holt mich ein Star, Tina Braegger’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.
Since 2016, Braegger’s eclectic body of painting has revolved around a single motif: the iconic “dancing bear.” Initially designed by artist Bob Thomas to appear on the back cover of the 1973 release The History of the Grateful Dead (Bear’s Choice), these playful mascots quickly became a staple of the American rock band’s visual identity. In her paintings, as in the concert parking lots that spawned countless variations of this figure, the bear operates according to the logic of the bootleg and has developed into a reference system that suffuses every aspect of Braegger’s practice. By taking the bear out of its context of 70s psychedelia and its association with the Grateful Dead’s music, the artist directs our attention to the motif itself and its visual and conceptual malleability. As a sign or symbol, the bear can be manipulated to mean anything—even to stand in for painting itself.
Ich bin hier raus, holt mich ein Star presents new works that reflect on the process of painting. The bear appears in various formations and constellations, often depicted with distinguishing characteristics like cigarettes, apples, or eyes. This approach is reminiscent of the Renaissance and Baroque practice of embedding “attributes” in religious and mythological painting, emboldening the bears as individual narrative agents. As a painter and writer, Braegger never begins with a blank canvas or page, but instead grapples with this narrative, conceptual, and visual vessel across different media. “In a way, it became a mechanism that kept itself going,” Braegger explains of her subject matter. “It’s as if the bear came to life like artificial intelligence—it’s a cyborg, and it’s about to take over the world.”
A book launch for Braegger’s second novel, entitled The Dream Relatives, will be held at Société on 14 December, 2023.
Tina Braegger b. 1985, Lucerne lives and works in Berlin and Zurich. Recent exhibitions include Curiosity Killed the Cat, a two-person exhibition with Sturtevant curated by Udo Kittelmann at de 11 Lijnen in Belgium and a solo exhibition at Neuer Essener Kunstverein. Her works have additionally been exhibited at New Acquisition II, Hildebrand Collection G2 Kunsthalle, Leipzig; Kunsthalle Bern; Luma Westbau, Zurich; Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo; Istituto Svizzero di Roma, Rome; Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, St. Gallen; Fondation Ricard, Paris; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; and DAAD Galerie, Berlin; among other venues.